1355 Main Street E,
Hamilton, ON L8K 1B5

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SPEC Article Describing opening of the Theatre circa 1925

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in 1926, it was operated by Joseph Stempski. Later operated by Supreme Theatres. Initially named the Community Theatre. Seating was listed at 588. It later became the Main Theatre.

20th Century Theatres took over operations by 1959 and it was renamed the Cinema. By the early-1980’s it was twinned and the theatre closed sometime in the 1980’s.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

TivFan on November 17, 2012 at 9:32 pm

The Cinema Theatre was not twinned. It was a single screen house until it closed. The book states l981 as the closing year, while the Main listing states l984. My comment on the Main listing could be wrong. I stated that the theater was once named the Gregory. This was related in the “Glamorous Ghosts” article. There are a number of errors in this article, and the theater was either owned or operated by somebody named “Gregory”.
If you check out the above Google street view, you can see that the upper facade design of the building is the original, dating back to the 1925 Main opening. You can also compare this with the upper design of the Playhouse Theatre, now showing on this site!

TivFan on November 20, 2012 at 10:09 am

A photograph of the Cinema Theatre can be seen on American Classic Images on page 56 (do a search for “Cinema”). The Cinema is shown after it closed and was for sale. The date given is September 1984. This is what the theater looked like from its l951 renovation to its closing. The Cinema page needs to be combined with the Main page. This theater was not twinned and should be noted as 1 screen. The “Nearby Theaters” list is incorrect. The Hyland is downtown, nowhere close to the Cinema. The Main is the same theater. Closer theaters are Kenilworth, Windsor/Rex, Avalon/Avon, Center Mall, Queens, Delta.

ScreenClassic on November 29, 2012 at 2:29 am

The September 1984 photo of the Cinema mentioned by TivFan is here.

mortonbg on April 2, 2013 at 12:13 am

The Gregory was a different Theatre on the east side of Kenilworth just North of Main. Also known as the Cinderella in the late teens it is currently being gutted for apartments.

TivFan on April 2, 2013 at 3:39 am

The Gregory was noted as a former name of the Cinema Theatre. There may have been some confusion because Gregory was the name of the family that ran this theater (and others, possibly). The Cinema had other former names, but the Gregory may not have been one. The theater nearby on Kenilworth Street, just north of Main Street, was not called the Gregory. It was the Windsor Theatre. After being closed for a number of years, it was reopened as the Rex Theatre (late 1970’s?). It had a “family” film policy, but it was not successful and I recall it didn’t last long. And it was the last time this building was used as a theater.

TivFan on April 2, 2013 at 4:25 am

There is no listing on this site for the Windsor/Rex Theatre. There were at least 32 movie theaters (separate and individual) in Hamilton over the years. There may be a few other early movie theaters or nickelodeons that existed and are not accounted for. There was a storefront movie theater opposite the old City Hall. A theater on King Street (near James St.) had a vertical VAUDEVILLE sign, but I have not been able to find any information on it. As movies developed, many early theaters or cinemas didn’t last long and are probably forgotten.
The building on Kenilworth, just north of Main Street, is being converted and has been under construction for over a year now. It appears work has been halted (because of the season or otherwise?). This structure appears to be one building, but it is two distinct buildings. The Windsor Theatre existed in the building on the left (or the North side). There is a photo of the Windsor in one of the Hamilton picture books. The original wall between the two buildings exists, but the outer walls seem to have been rebuilt inside the former outer walls/shell. The original Northern brick wall of the Windsor Theatre still exists. The original exit doors (along the North wall) are bricked up and can be currently seen. There is nothing left of the original Windsor interior. It has been through many changes since it was last used as a movie theater. I was told (by a worker, I think) that the buildings will be of mixed use: a banquet hall, stores and offices. Nothing was mentioned to me about apartments or housing. I have not heard of the “Cinderella”, and I doubt that this building dates back to the late “teens”. More research will tell…

DavidDymond on April 2, 2013 at 12:49 pm

This was just an old Twinex Theatre (Twentieth Century Theatres) that Famous Players closed as fast as they could. Twentieth Century Theatres were an operating partner of Famous Players Canadian Corporation. This was NEVER an important theatre!

TivFan on April 3, 2013 at 1:38 pm

The Windsor and the Rex are the same theater. There was probably ten-to-fifteen years between the time the Windsor closed and the Rex opened. As to the difference in the seating numbers, I assume the Rex seating may have been refigured or the seats may have been removed when the Windsor closed. Both the Windsor and the Kenilworth were smaller neighborhood theaters. The Kenilworth has been a Ukranian Community Center since the l970’s and still retains a lot of the original interior decor. The floor has been levelelled and some apartments have been added to the south side of the building. I recall walking up Kenilworth Avenue in the mid-1980’s and the Kenilworth Theatre building was open for a “casino” afternoon (cards, crown & anchor, etc.) and I was able to have a look inside. I entered the Windsor one time (a long time ago) and an AA meeting or some kind of encounter group was in session…oops!

TivFan on June 4, 2013 at 9:40 am

More info on the Windsor/Rex. The April 2013 comment by mortonbg is correct. Gregory is a former name of the Windsor Theatre. In a newspaper ad from a 1937 Spectator, the theater at 16 Kenilworth is named Gregory.
In the 1944 Vernon’s Hamilton Directory, the theater is named Windsor (under THEATRES). In the alphabetical listings (under Windsor), it states: “ Theatre Mrs Jean Gregory mgr 16 Kenilworth av n (no punctuation, as written). In the 1959 Vernon’s Directory, the theater is not listed under THEATRES. The alphabetical listing states: ” Theatre Bldg 16 Kenilworth av n . I don’t know if the theater was open at this time.

BrockKing13 on July 15, 2013 at 4:36 pm

I worked at the old Cinema in 1976 & 7 as manager. It was a small and quiet theatre that that showed mostly family entertainment. Old equipment from the silent film days littered the backstage area. It had two small apartments over the front of the building and the projection booth had to be reached from a door on the side of the building.

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